Monthly Update - May 2020


CGA launches Engage platform and new website

By: Sarah Magruder Lyle(link sends e-mail), CGA President and CEO

Following the early launch of CGA’s Engage platform to help members share timely information and collaborate on how they are navigating through the COVID-19 pandemic, we hope you have now had a chance to log on to Engage and begin exchanging thoughts and strategies with your damage prevention peers. The Engage platform is a digital forum for real-time information sharing and conversation, which will help our industry work together to ensure the continued safety of necessary utilities well beyond the current health crisis. Please be sure to update your Engage profile, introduce yourself via the appropriate thread and share any insights or resources that can support your fellow CGA members now and into the future. On the platform, you can find frequently asked questions and other resources that may be helpful as you familiarize yourself with Engage. CGA is excited to launch this brand-new platform for our members, and we hope you find it to be a valuable resource.   

CGA has also launched a refresh of the website. The newly designed site provides an overview of 811, outlines the steps of safe digging, includes information tailored to contractors and homeowners, and features an “811 in your state” interactive map where users can click to learn information specific to their state and be directed to their local one call center and its ticket platforms. The new website will be a key resource for members to promote in outreach to both the homeowner and contractor audiences to provide important safe digging information and ensure that contacting their state one call center is top of mind before they dig.

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News Brief

CGA members and stakeholders across the country remind the public to dig safely, and secure government proclamations during National Safe Digging Month

In April, CGA members and stakeholders were hard at work promoting safe digging during National Safe Digging Month. Although regions around the country continue to experience a number of unique situations due to COVID-19, members and stakeholders succeeded in sharing the importance of calling 811 before you dig, especially in these challenging times. Below is a small sampling of the efforts from our members last month, including media stories, proclamations from local governments and social media messages.

  • Colorado Gov. Jared Polis proclaims April as Dig Safely Month and Colorado 811 reminds the public that it’s more important than ever to contact 811 before digging [Colorado 811]
  • Alabama Gov. Ivey proclaims April as National Safe Digging Month [Southern Torch]
  • April is Safe Digging Month in Coweta County, Ga. [The Newnan Times-Herald]
  • Iowa One Call: April is National Safe Digging Month [KICD]
  • Ohio Gov. DeWine proclaims April as National Safe Digging Month [Fremont News Messenger]
  • Gov. Stitt’s office proclaims April as Safe Digging Month in Oklahoma [State of Oklahoma Proclamation]
  • Maryland Gov. Hogan proclaims April as Safe Digging Month [The Southern Maryland Chronicle]
  • Safe digging practices more important than ever with COVID-19 restrictions: PG&E [California Construction News]
  • Starting an outdoor digging project in Oklahoma? Call before you dig [KFOR-TV]
  • Planning spring projects in Washington State? Before you dig, call 811 to be safe [News Channel 21]
  • Summit Natural Gas reminds homeowners to call 811 before tackling home improvement projects that require digging [Facebook]
  • AGA Natural Gas reminds the public that calling 811 before you dig is more important than ever this National Safe Digging Month [Twitter]

Dig Safely New York, Inc. transitions in-person trainings to virtual

- By Aimee M. Milks Dig Safely New York, Inc.

For 14 consecutive years, Dig Safely New York, Inc. (DSNY) has hosted its March Excavator Safety Seminars. These nine annual events are the largest of the 300+ educational events the organization facilitates, with between 3,000 and 5,000 in total attendance for the event series. This year, the seminars took a major shift as the impact of COVID-19 forced the organization to cancel the remaining three of the seminar events and all in-person training events from March 18 through April 30.

Luckily, DSNY has had its learning management system, Coursettra, implemented for several years now. This system allows the organization to be flexible, offer convenience and adapt to challenges such as this pandemic. From March 18 through April 9, more than 1,200 people have utilized DSNY’s learning management system to complete vital training and education prior to commencing field work.

With construction work deemed essential in New York State today, our own staff and the industry are adapting to a new virtual way of working and learning. Now more than ever it is vital for education to continue to ensure underground utilities are protected for the safety of our communities.

Member Tool & Resources

CGA Educational Programs & Marketing Committee launches “After the Call” toolkit

CGA’s Educational Programs & Marketing Committee has launched the brand-new “After the Call” toolkit, which contains recommendations and assets for CGA members to provide detailed safe digging information to first-time callers. CGA members are encouraged to customize the information in the toolkit to best serve their key stakeholders and the general public, as well as to comply with state laws.

The “After the Call” toolkit includes detailed recommendations and instructions for how to use the toolkit, infographics tailored to both the professional excavator/contractor and homeowner/DIYer audiences, an email template, a banner ad and a Facebook ad. InDesign files are included in the toolkit to allow for customization.

To learn more about the “After the Call” toolkit and to access the files, visit the toolkit.


Use CGA’s Storm Clean-Up toolkit to keep the public safe after severe weather

- By Khrysanne Kerr, VP of Marketing & Outreach 

This spring, heavy rains, severe storms and tornados are a concern in many regions around the country. If your area has been impacted by severe weather, remind the public to call 811 before digging for any storm clean-up efforts with CGA’s Storm Clean-Up toolkit. The toolkit includes press releases, columns, PSA templates and case studies to ensure that the public remains safe and underground facilities remain protected during any clean-up efforts. To access the toolkit, visit

CGA’s NSDM toolkit can support COVID-19 communications throughout the spring

It’s no longer National Safe Digging Month (NSDM), but the NSDM toolkit remains a great resource throughout the spring as the pandemic continues. The COVID-19 situation around the country continues to change, bringing new challenges for the industry to ensure safe digging practices are followed as people continue to stay home and call centers adapt to higher demand. This toolkit provides useful tools to communicate regardless of the challenges your region faces, whether all nonessential digging has stopped or if homeowners are digging more than usual. As the world continues to change week by week, visit the toolkit for updated infographics, news releases, social media posts and more. 

Data & Technology

CGA releases near-miss report analyzing DIRT data

Analysis of DIRT Near-Miss Data

-By Steve Blaney, Program Manager, DIRT 

On April 28, 2020, CGA released a report from the Data Reporting & Evaluation Committee analyzing near-miss DIRT data from 2015 to 2018. This period was selected because 2015 was when the method to account for multiple reports of the same event was first applied, while 2018 is the latest available full data set.

The DIRT User Guide defines a near-miss as: An event where a damage did not occur, but a clear potential for damage was identified. Some examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. An excavator discovers a buried facility that was not marked or not marked accurately.
  2. An excavator is found digging without having notified the one call center.
  3. An operator fails to respond to a locate request.
  4. A one call center incorrectly entered data regarding the work site.

The report provides background and history of near-miss data collection in DIRT, and compares near-miss reports versus damage reports submitted by the top reporting stakeholders: Excavators, Natural Gas, Liquid Pipeline and Locators. Following are the key takeaways of the analysis.

  • Excavators (including Road Builders) submit higher quality data in near-miss DIRT reports compared to their damage reports. The distribution of root causes in their near-miss reports is similar to that in their damage reports. Locating issues are the leading known root cause group (i.e. filtering out unknowns) for both types of reports, but near-miss reports have a slightly lower percentage of unknown root causes. Excavators also complete the downtime questions (was there any downtime, cost, duration) at a higher rate in near-miss reports. Fewer unknown root causes and more reports with the downtime data leads to higher Data Quality Index (DQI) scores in near-miss reports. Documenting excavator downtime was a main original driver for including near-miss reporting in DIRT.
  • Natural Gas and Liquid Pipelines cite “no notification made to one call center/811” as the root cause at a higher percentage in near-miss reports as compared to damage reports. They also cite “transmission” as the affected facility type at significantly higher percentages in their near-miss reports. This is likely due to pipeline safety regulations requiring transmission pipeline operators to patrol their rights-of-way to look for indications of construction activity, among other things.
  • Locator near-miss reports  are not significantly different from their damage reports in terms of root causes, facility operation and facility type affected.

Association News

Get your free copy of CGA’s Best Practices 17.0!

-By Erika Lee, CGA Vice President 

CGA is pleased to announce the release of Best Practices 17.0, which was published in spring 2020 and includes three new practices. The Best Practices Guide is the preeminent and trusted resource for the industry, with more than 160 practices that cover all phases of the safe digging process. The included practices are designed to improve worker safety, protect vital underground infrastructure and ensure public safety during excavation activities.

The comprehensive guide is separated into sections to share best practices across the industry, including planning and design, locating and marking, excavation, mapping, compliance, education and awareness and more. A helpful appendix is included as a reference for important industry terms and definitions, the color code guide and sample forms, reports and releases.

Best Practices 17.0 contains the following new best practices that address cross bore mitigation and updated communication around new and privately-owned facilities:

  • 8-11: Cross bore determination and mitigation

A facility owner/operator has in place a robust, proactive mitigation program to identify and mitigate cross bores where their facilities may intrude upon another owner/operator’s facility. The facility owner/operator program promotes safe mitigation of cross bores. A facility owner/operator provides a communications network as a conduit for third parties to report potential cross bores.

  • 2-18: Identifying newly installed or under construction facilities

Facility owner or designee identifies with the one call center, an underground facility that has been installed or is under construction but is not in service.

  • 3-32: Communicate potential for privately owned facilities

The one call center educates individuals submitting a locate request that privately owned and operated service lines/facilities may exist. Facility owners/operators of those private service lines/facilities, who are not members of the one call center, will not be notified.

You can also view and download the full Best Practices Guide and order additional copies here.

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